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This title in other editions

Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos


Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos Cover




Chapter I

There Is No "Modern" World

The evils of the twentieth century arose from populist movements that were monstrously exploited in the name of utopian ideals, and had their power amplified by new technologies. The Nazi party began as a crusade for workers' rights organized by a Munich locksmith, Anton Drexler, in 1919, before Hitler took it over the following year. The Bolsheviks also emerged amid emancipating political upheaval and, like the Nazis, exploited the dream of social renewal. Once the Nazis and Bolsheviks were in power, the inventions of the Industrial Age became crucial to their crimes. As for Mao Zedong, his push for labor-intensive industrialization, through the establishment of utopian communes, led to the deaths of at least 20 million Chinese during the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962.

The twentieth century may be a poor guide to the twenty-first, but only fools would discount it, particularly because populist movements now permeate the world, provoking disorder and demanding political and economic transformation. Asia is a specific cause for concern. India, Pakistan, China, and other emerging powers pulse with new technologies, nationalistic zeal, and disintegrative forces within. Recall the words of Alexander Hamilton:

To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties situated in the same neighborhood would be to disregard the uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages.

Thus, the evils of the twenty-first century may also arise from populist movements, taking advantage of democratization, motivated this time by religious and sectarian beliefs, and empowered by a post-Industrial Revolution: particularly information technology. Hindu extremists who burned down mosques in India in the early 1990s and attacked Christians in the late 1990s belong to a working-class movement within India's democracy that uses videocassettes and the Internet to spread its message. Similar phenomena have occurred in Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Algeria, Mexico, Fiji, Egypt, Pakistan, the West Bank, and Arab Nazareth, to name but a few places where religious and ethnic groups, predominantly working-class and inspired by democratization, use modern communications technology to stir unrest.

Populist rage is fueled by social and economic tensions, aggravated often by population growth and resource scarcity in an increasingly urbanized planet. In the coming decades, 2 or 3 billion more people will live in the vast, impoverished cities of the developing world.

Global capitalism will contribute to this peril, smashing traditions and dynamically spawning new ones. The benefits of cap-italism are not distributed equitably, so the more dynamic the capitalist expansion, the more unequal the distribution of wealth that usually results. Thus, two dynamic classes will emerge under globalization-the entrepreneurial nouveaux riches and, more ominously, the new subproletariat: the billions of working poor, recently arrived from the countryside, inhabiting the expanding squatters' settlements that surround big cities in Africa, Eurasia, and South America.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Kaplan, Robert D.
History & Theory - General
Political Process - Leadership
Politics - General
politics;history;non-fiction;philosophy;political science;war;military history;kaplan;military
Edition Number:
1st paperback ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
January 7, 2003
Grade Level:
8.02x5.19x.60 in. .46 lbs.

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Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos Used Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375726279 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[T]his is not among Kaplan's best books....The intellectually informed empiricism that made his previous books so compelling is absent. The book could also be misinterpreted as an apology for the worst sort of international exercise of power....However, this is an important book that cautions against the well-intentioned liberal idea that we should export the political ideas that have worked in this country to areas of the world that lack our history, literacy, economic success and egalitarian culture."
"Review" by , "There is much to praise in Kaplan's sober realism, his genuine knowledge of the world's danger zones, and his justified contempt for liberal good intentions when they are not backed by steel and will."
"Review" by , "[A] fascinating intellectual exercise."
"Review" by , "An insightful, timely book. Citing philosophers from Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, the author shows the value of ancient insights into human nature in formulating international policy."
"Review" by , "[Kaplan?s] comparison of the United States in 2001 with the complacent Roman Empire will be a wake-up call for many readers. His philosophical polemic is well worth reading in these anxious times."
"Review" by , "Kaplan draws on a rich humanist tradition to shatter the illusion of a collective, post-cold war vision of human progress....[He] has become the Ayn Rand of international affairs, saying what few dare to say."
"Review" by , "Warrior Politics is a compelling text, laden with astute observations about ancient and modern times, but the book's major flaw lies in one essentially unaddressed question: What is the value of fighting to preserve a world order that relies on overt cynicism and double-dealing? Kaplan may be right to claim that the only way to live is to understand that war is an eternal part of life...but there may also be some value in accepting destruction rather than compromising deeply held beliefs. Kaplan offers a rational thesis, but it comes packaged with an uncomfortable chill."
"Review" by , "One of the most thought-provoking and profound books that I have recently read. As readable as it is stimulating."
"Review" by , "Kaplan skillfully captures the relevance of classical political theory for today?s leaders, whether they manage crises in the boardroom or the Oval Office."
"Review" by , "Warrior Politics should be read by every citizen deeply concerned about America's role in the world."
"Review" by , "The reason I have come to admire Bob Kaplan's little book...is its refusal to apologize for its analogies. This is so refreshing....What Kaplan is saying — and what Hobbes and Machiavelli and some of the Founders said — was that such realism is in fact more moral than idealism. Idealism in state craft is based on an abdication of responsibility — to govern the world as it is."
"Synopsis" by , Bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan, whose counsel has been sought by both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has written a bracing inquiry into what a successful leader must do to navigate the world's increasingly treacherous political waters.

In a book that challenges us to see the world as it is, Kaplan offers the lessons of the great thinkers of history — from Thucydides to Winston Churchill — for whom a clear-eyed pragmatism was the most important guiding principle. Kaplan argues that it is more imperative than ever to understand how the struggles of today are strikingly similar to those of the past, and to wrest from the past what we need to arm ourselves for the future.

"Synopsis" by , In Warrior Politics, the esteemed journalist and analyst Robert D. Kaplan explores the wisdom of the ages for answers for todays leaders. While the modern world may seem more complex and dangerous than ever before, Kaplan writes from a deeper historical perspective to reveal how little things actually change. Indeed, as Kaplan shows us, we can look to historys most influential thinkers, who would have understood and known how to navigate todays dangerous political waters.

Drawing on the timeless work of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, among others, Kaplan argues that in a world of unstable states and an uncertain future, it is increasingly imperative to wrest from the past what we need to arm ourselves for the road ahead. Wide-ranging and accessible, Warrior Politics is a bracing book with an increasingly important message that challenges readers to see the world as it is, not as they would like it to be.

"Synopsis" by , The famous controversialist and bestselling author of "Balkan Ghosts" extracts the best wisdom of the ages for today's world leaders, from Sun-Tzu and Thucydides to Hobbes and Machiavelli.
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